Wilmington's Winterthur Explores the Map




It’s never spring until Winterthur reopens, so we’re happy to see the announcement for its next major exhibition, “Common Destinations: Maps in the American Experience.” More than 100 rare objects illustrate Americans’ changing interaction with maps as they evolved from an elite status symbol to a crucial tool for day-to-day life. “Common Destinations” reveals the compelling story of how America’s identity was inextricably linked with maps, whether traditional maps on paper or map images on objects, ranging from playing cards to needlework. It opens April 20. Look for more soon. winterthur.org/commondestinations

Hot, Hot, Hot

Playwright Theresa Rebeck premieres another terrific work with the UD’s Resident Ensemble Players April 18-May 4. Her “Fever” hilariously explores the politics of gender as Molly and Arthur share a drink at a favorite local watering hole. When Arthur spills a tender and complicated story from his past, Molly erupts, sick of listening to him. Over the next two weeks, male and female patrons of the bar explode as they hash out their own interpretations of the fight. Secrets are revealed and social structure is shredded. Sanford Robbins directs. You’ll roar. 831-2204, rep.udel.edu

By All Means, Rebel

Rebel Baroque Ensemble is one of the best period-instrument groups in the country. With two violins, a recorder-traverso, violin, cello and harpsichord, the group takes a provocative approach to its repertoire, winning reviews such as “sophisticated and beguiling” from The New York Times and “astonishingly vital music-making” from The Los Angeles Times. Coastal Concerts of Lewes presents the group live on April 21. The program features works by Vivaldi, Corelli, Telemann, Boyce, and other 17th- and 18th -entury composers. 888-212-6458, coastalconcerts.org

Beautiful Song

Lush choral textures will be on full display in CoroAllegro’s spring performance, “Choral Splendor,” on April 20. Focused on music for double chorus and divided voices by Britten, Rachmaninoff, Tavener and others, the program features the monumental Cantus Missae (Mass in E flat) for a cappella double choir by the German Romantic composer Joseph Rheinberger. Hear the voices of CoroAllegro divide, intertwine and reunite to create a magnificent choral sound. See the group at St. Helena's Church in Bellefonte. 658-6915, coroallegro.com

Hot Pyx

The Pyxis Piano Quartet will debut at Smyrna Opera House April 21, presenting three master composers from across the globe. The program opens with the American master Walter Piston’s “Duo for Viola and Cello,” then moves to Soviet Russia with Dimitri Shostakovich’s “Piano Trio in e minor.” The program ends with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s beloved "G minor Piano Quartet,” the first major piece ever composed for piano quartet in the chamber music repertoire. 653-4236, smyrnaoperahouse.org

They’re Your Puppets

Unmatched in artistry, grace and refinement of movement, the internationally acclaimed Cashore Marionettes redefine the art of puppetry. Through a combination of virtuoso manipulation, beautiful music, theatrical illusion, and artistic insight, the show “Simple Gifts” provides a fantastical vision of what it is to be human. Calgary Herald calls it “a simple but brilliant production…highly recommended even for adults who don’t happen to have kids.” See them April 21 at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington. 652-5577, thegrandwilmington.org

Small Person, Big Bass

Also at The Grand, the young talent named Esperanza Spalding returns on April 24. The Grammy-winning jazz bassist-vocalist will be joined by a 12-piece world-class band, celebrating the power of song with her latest release “Radio Music Society.” With her unique and style-spanning presence, it’s no wonder that she has become one of the brightest lights in the musical world. 652-5577, thegrandwilmington.org

Bounds-less

Pamella Bounds-Seemans unveils her new series of paintings, “Primavera in Lewes” at The Buttery restaurant in Lewes April 21-May 19. Bounds-Seemans, born and raised in Milton, is known for vibrant acrylic paintings surrounded by a collage border and hand-painted frame. Her latest series will feature local scenes and floral themes. “I have been painting Lewes and local scenes for years,” she says. “This show is inspired by spring in Lewes and Botticelli’s romanticism.” Bounds-Seemans is a Delaware Division of the Arts fellowship recipient and won Best Artist from Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria, Va. Her works are owned and displayed around the world, including at the Tideline Gallery in Rehoboth Beach. The Buttery will host an opening reception on April 21. It will be one of the local arts events of the season. 645-7755, butteryrestaurant.com

Talkin' Trash

“Taxonomy of Trash" at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts in Wilmington finds Tim Eads, artist-in-residence at Revolution Recovery, a Philadelphia recycling company, uniting a team of professionals in what “is at once a hybrid form of art, connoisseurship, scientific research, audio-visual documentation, readymade sculpture, and performance that underscores much of today’s collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach to artistic practice,” according to curator Maiza Hixon. As she explains, Eads invited a sound engineer, videographer, photographer, and biologist to help him analyze the aesthetic potential of trash. From Revolution Recovery’s inventory, the team selected objects of visual interest, recorded the sounds the objects made when activated as ersatz instruments, and photographed and categorized them in a phylogenetic tree chart. At the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, all of these inventive examinations and permutations of art and trash are on display. In addition to the sensory connection to trash that the visitor experiences in the gallery, Eads supplements "Taxonomy" with a kinetic sculpture called the “Mobile Trash Lab.” This photography studio/garbage bike on wheels travels to litter-strewn locations and enables the driver or citizens off the street to select ubiquitous city trash, then have it “taxonomized” on the spot, free of charge. Displayed alongside audio-visual recordings of garbage picked from this geographic region and exhibited in proximity to a chart categorizing these biodegradable and non-biodegradable items, the DCCA visitor is invited to view both an objective and ethical analysis of what we throw away. See it through July 13. Also at the DCCA, a solo exhibition of oil paintings by well-known artist Philemona Williamson investigate the complexity of lives of adolescents of all races and genders, delving into the complexities of adolescent life. See it through July 14. (And there's more on the DCCA below.) 656-6466, thedcca.org

The Original Courtroom Drama

Director Scott F. Mason lends the classic courtroom drama “12 Angry Jurors” a contemporary treatment when a diverse group of strangers must decide the fate of an inner-city teen on trial for the murder of his abusive father. Locked in a jury room, tempers flare and frustration abounds as their own prejudices, fears and cultural biases boil to the surface in what was expected to be an open-and-shut case. The judicial system is as much on trial as the defendant when these 12 jurors wrestle with their civic duty. See it performed by the Chapel Street Players through April 20. 368-2248, chapelstreetplayers.org

“Sons” Shines

The last show of the Kent County Theatre Guild’s season, Arthur Miller's award-winning drama “All My Sons,” was written in 1947, ran on Broadway for 11 months, for a total of 328 performances. The play won Tony Awards for both Best Author and Best Direction of a Play. Set in the aftermath of World War II in suburban America, All My Sons explores one family's pursuit of the American Dream while overcoming the grief of a lost son and brother, and guilt over events that occurred during the war. This play will take audiences through twists and turns as a family tries to cope with the decisions they have made, while trying to maintain their American Dream. See it through April 27. 800-838-3006, kctg.org

Who Is the Fairest?

“Snow White,” the timeless fairy tale of a princess who falls into ever-lasting sleep by biting a poisoned apple, and the prince who must save her with a kiss, plays at Delaware Children’s Theatre in Wilmington through May 5. 655-1014, dechildrenstheatre.org

Now in Newark

The Newark Arts Alliance is all about local artists, and it has a great season of their work to show. Running through April 27, “Me, Myself & I," an all-media, juried show of self-portraits and art, explore the artist’s self. Hot on its heels comes “Flowers” April 30-June 1, an all-media, juried show of works that celebrate the flower, followed by Nate Metz's solo show “Summer Streets” June 4-29, a show of photographs of interesting objects found on the streets in summer. There's more throughout the year, so stay tuned. 266-7266, newarkartsalliance.org

Much Better Living Through Science

Hagley Museum and Library is displaying a portion of its fashion collection for the first time in its newest exhibit, “Fashion Meets Science: Introducing Nylon.” This exhibit shows how nylon revolutionized the fashion industry and influenced how people have dressed since its launch in 1938 by the DuPont Co. “Fashion Meets Science: Introducing Nylon” celebrates the 75th anniversary of nylon’s introduction to market. On Oct. 27, 1938, the brand new material was announced to the public, then quickly replaced silk in the ladies hosiery industry. Nylon was so popular that its early sales created near riots. The highlight of the exhibit is the early development of nylon and its impact on the fashion industry, but it includes other uses for the discovery such as parachutes, toothbrushes and carpet. “Fashion Meets Science: Introducing Nylon” highlights “firsts” of this discovery from pure science. Visitors will be able to view the first polyamide fiber sample (basis of nylon) and first souvenir sample of nylon thread, first all-nylon woven fabric, one of the first pairs of stockings manufactured at the Experimental Station, and the first pair of seamless stockings. The first wedding dress made of nylon (1942), first dress made of 100 percent spun nylon (1949), and first nylon football pants will also be on display. in addition to other nylon “firsts.” Nylon and other related synthetic fibers made clothing that was durable, washable, stretchable, stain-resistant, and affordable. Visitors can see the first nylon overlay lace dress (1940) and a prototype black nylon nightgown from Vanity Fair (1947). Clothing made from Qiana, a silky nylon fiber that debuted in the late 1960s and influenced fashion of the disco era, will also be displayed. Featured Qiana items include a Bill Blass Qiana Boudoir Robe (1968-1969), William Travilla Qiana evening gown (1968-1969), Oscar de la Renta Qiana wrap dress (1968-1969), and a Charles Kleibacker Qiana cocktail dress. Whether a science geek or a fashion fan, you’ll love this exhibit. It runs through March 31. 658-2400, hagley.lib.de.us

Actors on Trial

In a unique partnership between the UD and area elementary students, ProjectMUSIC presents “The Big Bad Musical” on April 19. Trained by UD actors and singers, the young ones perform with them in a tale of the Big Bad Wolf on trial. Is he the villain we’ve made him out to be? The audience is the judge. See it at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School in Newark and at the university on April 19. (MAYERJ1@christina.k12.de.us)

Truly Unique

"The Projectionist," a nationally acclaimed exhibition, will be on view at the Biggs Museum of American Art in Dover through June 23. "The Projectionist" is a documentary, book and multi-media exhibition that explores one man’s lifelong fascination with the golden age of film and, in particular, the grand movie palace. The exhibition features a fully operational 1920s-style movie theater that was created in the basement of Middletown native Gordon Brinckle. A documentary, created by Kendall Messick, provides a penetrating gaze into the life of this self-taught artist. The narrative follows the course of Brinckle’s life, revealing the profound desire, frustration and motivation that propelled him to create such a distinctive outsider art environment. Original works on paper by Brinckle such as blueprints and floor plans and fine art photographs by Messick of Brinckle operating the theater will also be on view. 674-2111, biggsmuseum.org

Juxtaposed

Also at The Biggs. “Points of Juxtaposition” features works by seven local artists. Carl Williams, Tony Burton, Seldon Dix, Ernie Satchell, Kennie Jones, Alex Gamble and Michael Morris, all members of the regional artist critique group called Points of Juxtaposition, will display artwork within a gallery along the museum's timeline display of the fine and decorative arts. These artists have directed their brushes, styles, camera lenses, and graphic design at the social ills, beauty, history, and place of African-Americans in this country. Each artist will represent his own contemporary African-American artistic perspective. The exhibit as a whole is visually unified by elements of color, pattern, history and spiritual awareness. Works include oils, watercolors, prints, mixed media, photography, sculpture and ceramics. All are invited to attend. See it through May 26.  674-2111, biggsmusuem.org

"Curtains" Calls

The highly successful songwriting team of John Kander and Fred Ebb had their last collaboration on the musical comedy whodunit “Curtains,” which will be performed by the Possum Point Players through April 28. Kander—the music—and Ebb—the words—won their greatest acclaim for “Cabaret,” which won a Tony Award and eight Oscars. Their “Chicago” has become the longest-running revival in Broadway history. Other Kander and Ebb Broadway successes include “Woman of the Year,” “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and, of course, “Curtains.” The story:  Boston’s Colonial Theatre is host to the opening night performance of a new musical. When the leading lady mysteriously dies on stage, the entire cast and crew become suspects, investigated a local detective who just happens to be a fan of musical theater. Directed by Jim Hartzell of Georgetown with musical direction by Liz Messick of Laurel and choreography by Deni Robinson of Lewes, “Curtains” is sure to be a hoot. 856-4560, possumpointplayers.org

Behind the Ides

Andrew Wyeth painted most of his significant paintings in egg tempera, which he described as having “no limitation.” Enjoy the exhibition “Andrew Wyeth's ‘Ides of March:’ The Making of a Masterpiece” through May 19. The exhibition includes “Ides of March,” a rarely seen tempera painting, plus more than 30 of the studies that were instrumental to Wyeth's development of the composition. 610-388-2700, brandywinemusuem.org

Cities and People

For the first time in world history, more of us now live in cities than in rural areas, and whether we realize it or not, we make our cities as much as they shape us. Hence, “imPERFECT CITY” now at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Arts in Wilmington. Funded under the theme of Radical Participation by a grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the exhibition empowers non-artists, with DCCA Gretchen Hupfel Curator of Contemporary Art Maiza Hixson, to help curate a show that represents their ideal city. Some content changes daily to reflect the life of a real city. The culmination of the exhibition will be on June 8 during the 2013 Gretchen Hupfel Symposium, when the project will be discussed along with other Utopian topics in conjunction with University of Delaware's “Earth Perfect? Nature, Utopia and the Garden symposium.” Also at the DCCA, “An Implied Narrative” is a group show of contemporary figure drawings that touch on themes of cultural and personal narratives such as celebrity, gender, political affiliation, and anonymity. The compositions are sparse, with few or no contextual clues to the type of space the figures inhabit. By removing extraneous elements, focus is directed toward the signifiers of facial expression, body language and dress to decipher what is presented. According to curator J. Gordon, Sean Lyman and Mark Stockton take two different approaches to the themes of identity and cultural narrative. Artist Mark Stockton presents the idea of the celebrity, a public identity constructed by the media, and consumers' expectations. Sean Lyman addresses his subjects' anonymity. Bridging the gap between anonymity and celebrity are Jason Maas' drawings inspired by the media's depiction of social unrest. Using journalistic images as a starting point, Maas carefully edits his drawings to explore how clothing and costume function "to establish our sense of order ... and designate positions of authority.” Seeing it will force you to ask, who are these people? For that matter, who are we? See it through June 16. 656-6466, thedcca.org

Blue Screen, Blank Canvas

Also at the DCCA: “This Space Is Intentionally Left Blank” by Texas artist Kerry Adams, on view through April 21. Adams' installation integrates traditional installation art and technology through the use of tablets that display live Twitter feeds. The installation encourages the viewer to engage with the exhibition by posting comments to Twitter with the hashtag #leftblank while within the installation. The exercise creates a literal dialogue with visitors about the ubiquitous nature of technology and the role of individuality and community in daily life. Introducing text, electrical cords, and tablet computers as aesthetic, sculptural elements, the exhibit hinges upon social media and physical engagement. According to the artist, being able to tweet to her exhibition “will allow you to add to the dialogue about attempts to communicate, failed communication, and the moments we miss right in front of us as we search for what is out of reach." Ironically, as viewers approach the tablets to read the messages, a motion sensor forces the Twitter streams to turn off, metaphorically enabling us to unplug from the screen-based chatter and to re-engage with our present surroundings. According to Pear Analytics, most tweeting includes spam, self-promotion and babble. Only 3.6 percent of tweets are considered newsworthy and 8.7 percent of pass-along value. In “This Space,” Adams' work would seemingly suggest the gallery as a test site for face-to-face conversation. 656-6466, thedcca.org

Imagine This

Straight from the Delaware College of Art and Design to the Delaware Art Museum in Wilmington, professor Alexi Natchev has his work exhibited in “Imagined Places: The Art of Alexi Natchev." The illustrator was born and educated in Sofia, Bulgaria. Since moving to the United States in 1990, he has illustrated 17 children's books, collaborating with major authors and publishers. His work has been shown in many international exhibitions and he has received several national awards. His illustrations conjure up an imaginary world of playful creatures, fairy-tale places, folktales and more. “Imagined Places” features over 60 works by Natchev, including paintings and prints representing the range of his career as an artist and illustrator. See how he researches the art and literature of a region for his illustrations in order to create a sensitive balance between fantasy and believability. “Alexi Natchev is deservedly celebrated for his colorful and imaginative children's books and is an accomplished printmaker with impressive fluency in various techniques," says Mary F. Holahan, curator of illustration. "We are thrilled to be able to display the whimsical and sometimes enigmatic illustrations of such a distinguished artist of our region.” 571-9590, delart.org

A Picture of Today

The year 2012 might have been Delaware Art Museum’s 100th anniversary year, but the celebration continues with “State of the Art: Illustration 100 Years After Howard Pyle” through June 1. The exhibition features more than 60 works from eight of the most important contemporary illustrators. In 2011, the museum launched its centennial celebration with a major retrospective dedicated to illustrator Howard Pyle. “State of the Art” marks the celebration's end and reflects on Pyle's legacy. In the century since his death in 1911, American illustration has diversified into a wide range of art forms, including animated films, computer-generated images to graphic novels and conceptual art. “No single exhibition could possibly do justice to the noisy, rambunctious history of illustration over the past century,” says curator David Apatoff. “I've chosen instead to feature eight individuals whose diverse talents demonstrate that illustration is no longer the singular profession it was in Pyle's day. It pervades our culture, reaching out to us from billboards, television, store windows, and computer screens.” This is one cool exhibition, with something for everyone in the family. 571-9590, delart.org

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